Though it may seem familiar in some ways, this new hangout for a Rockford favorite is taking things in a new direction, including with a few of those classic supper club touches.
From the captivating ambiance to the exotic alche masala, Alchemy at Aldeen, 1902 Reid Farm Road, in Rockford, delivers a fresh twist on a classic dining experience.
Owner and Chef Al Castrogiovanni has thoroughly capitalized on his move from the former Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center to an exquisite new setting inside the clubhouse at Aldeen Golf Club. The new restaurant in many ways brings patrons a culinary encounter they won’t soon forget.
“It’s been a lot of fun bringing Alchemy to Aldeen,” Castrogiovanni says. “We’ve changed things up, and we’ve added some wood surrounds and new tables and chairs to our decor.”
Best of all, the restaurant is open year-round, with views of the surrounding landscape that Castrogiovanni calls “the most spectacular anywhere.” As the golf club enters its fall season, Castrogiovanni is planning a special approach to the cold season’s menu, as he plays on the qualities of a classic supper club.
“We’re looking to bring back the legacy feel of a supper club with nice linens and fun dishes but not at the price point of a supper club,” he says.
The “pop-up supper club” runs from late fall through winter, returning every Wednesday through Saturday. A special wine dinner on Tuesday nights offers its own complement.
“I want to bring back those favorite things people remember from dining at a supper club,” Castrogiovanni says. “It’s fun to ask people what they remember about a supper club. Many people say the relish tray and the breadsticks. For me, it’s finding cinnamon rolls hidden in the bottom of the bread basket.”
Also on the menu, expect to see some of Alchemy’s summer favorites, including seasonal cocktails, dinner salads and handhelds.
“Our supper club will feature steak frites and an ‘Alchemy-ized’ shrimp de jonghe. I love creating traditional dishes with an out-of-the-box touch,” Castrogiovanni says. “We’ll also have fun ice cream drinks and our barrel-aged old-fashioneds.”
Expect a few additional surprises, as well.
“We try to balance our menu with healthy choices and unexpected flavors in classic dishes,” he says. “Our alche masala or butter chicken is a traditional Indian dish that we put our twist on, which makes it more approachable for someone who’s never tried it. People love it. The pasta Bosco combines many flavors with the surprise of black truffles. We try to hit all of the different taste points that people enjoy.”
While the outdoor patio serves as a live music venue in the summer, it becomes a prime setting for outdoor igloo dining in the colder months. This and other innovations continue to help Alchemy leave its own imprint on Rockford’s dining scene.
“I think dining out has changed entirely over the past eight years,” Castrogiovanni says. “Now, dining is a casual and fast-casual experience, which mirrors life’s more rapid pace. Hopefully, the supper club experience slows things down, and people can enjoy the cuisine, the atmosphere and that moment of being together.”
Alchemy is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday to 9 p.m.